5 great things to do in Dublin in May

Your guide to Dublin's essential events, exhibitions and things to do in May 2017.

1. Last chance to see Beyond Caravaggio Exhibition in National Gallery of Ireland | Until 14 May


Beyond Caravaggio opens up another world. From the brightly lit contemporary architecture of the Millennium Wing, we tumble into a decadent Baroque domain. Magnificent figurative works of slackened aged flesh or taut pink skin of youthful bloom. Soft drape of cloth, sharp glint of armour. Fingers outstretched, faces in recess. Sublime glow, dull ache, and everywhere… darkness, light and drama. 

Tickets: €5 - €15, children up to 16 years - free. Book here.

This exhibition is a unique collaboration between the National Gallery, London, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the National Gallery of Scotland. Many of the works in the show are on loan from private collections, and regional galleries, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to see works not easily available to the public.

Find out more.

2. Exhibitions in Irish Museum of Modern Art:

IMMA Collection: A Decade | Until 7 May


IMMA Collection: A Decade provides a snapshot of how the National Collection of modern and contemporary art has developed over the past 10 years. IMMA’s remit is to collect the art of now for the future, to reflect key developments in visual culture and to keep them in the public domain for future generations. Great works of art entering IMMA’s Collection shape future conversations about art, Ireland and the world we live in and expand the reputation of contemporary Irish artists globally.

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The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection | Until 7 May


The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection supports the acquisition of works by artists not yet represented by the IMMA Collection of Contemporary and Modern Art. The Hennessy Art Fund exhibition showcases the four Irish based artists whose work will now join IMMA’s Collection, funded by Hennessy Ireland.

Four works by four different Irish based artists have been selected, and the chosen artists for 2016 are Kevin Atherton, David Beattie, Rhona Byrne and Dennis McNulty. All of the works are installations that variously engage film, performance, new media, sound, found objects, everyday materials and audience participation.  They are being exhibited as part of IMMA Collection: A Decade, an exhibition which provides a snapshot of how the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary art has developed over the past 10 years.

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IMMA Collection Freud Project, 2016 – 2021 | Until October


IMMA has secured a significant five-year loan of 50 works by one of the greatest realist painters of the 20th century, Lucian Freud (1922-2011). Renowned for his portrayal of the human form, Freud is best known for his intimate, honest, often visceral portraits. Working only from life Freud’s studio was intensely private and he mainly worked with those he was close to, often asking subjects to sit for hundreds of hours over multiple sittings to better capture the essence of their personality.

IMMA Collection: Freud Project features a selection of 30 of the artist’s finest paintings, and 20 works on paper. The works, mainly dating from 1970 onwards, explore several of the artist’s key themes such as Portraiture; Self Portraiture; Still-life; Animals and Nature; works that reflect his interest in the people and the natural world.

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Duncan Campbell, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy | Until 7 May

duncancampbellrinayangwebimageFollowing his first major exhibition in Dublin at IMMA in 2014, Irish-born artist Duncan Campbell presents, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy (2016), his first new work since winning the Turner Prize in 2014 and his first film based in the Republic of Ireland. Originating from research undertaken in the IFI Irish Film Archive, Campbell’s new film commission takes as a starting point a 1960’s UCLA anthropological film study of rural Kerry to investigate and reframe contemporary Ireland.

The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy is underpinned by extensive research, in this instance Paul Hockings and Mark McCarty’s 1968 documentary film The Village, and three influential anthropological studies: Inis Beag by John C. Messenger; Inishkillane: Change and Decline in the West of Ireland by Hugh Brody; and in particular Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics by Nancy Scheper-Hughes.

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Jac Leirner, Institutional Ghost | Until 5 June

page_1_jac_leirner_skin_(rizla_liquorice)_2013_(screen_res)_1_(480x359)_(2)Considered one of Brazil’s most important contemporary artists, this solo exhibition from Jac Leirner comprises of exciting recent and new work made in response to the architecture of IMMA. Leirner works across disciplines including sculpture, painting, installation and works on paper.

Since the mid-1980s, Leirner has collected the temporary and incidental products of everyday life, tapping into what she has described as the ‘infinity of materials’. Stickers, rulers, plastic bags, business cards, cigarette ends and even bank notes make their appearance in her work, removed but not entirely dislocated from their original function. By repurposing these everyday materials into visually compelling sculptures and installations, Leirner creates new and unexpected associations that provide a sharp statement on the unfolding of art in recent decades.

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As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics | Until 27 August

Featuring an exciting selection of modern masterworks and landmark contemporary art works by Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Cameron - many being shown for the first time in Ireland - and new commissions created specifically for this exhibition by Linder, Matt Copson, Stephan Doitschinoff, Alan Butler and others.

Opening with a Vedic spiritual blessing at 12.15pm on Thursday 13 April 2017, IMMA presents one of its most ambitious and compelling shows exploring how the spiritual endures in our everyday lives. In particular, As Above, So Below considers the role played by certain spiritualist and alternative doctrines, such as the occult or mysticism, in the creation of abstract painting from its origins to the present digital age.

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ROSC 50 - 1967 / 2017 | From 5 May

ROSC was the first major series of exhibitions of international art in Ireland. They took place in a range of venues approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988. In 2017, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first ROSC, IMMA and NIVAL (the National Irish Visual Arts Library) are undertaking a collaborative research project to revisit the Irish art historical account of ROSC.

ROSC 50 will examine the ambition, reception, controversies and legacy of the ROSC exhibitions, which had a significant impact on the development of contemporary art in Ireland. This programme will unfold over the course of 2017 and will involve talks, events, screenings, displays, presentation of material and a number of artist commissions.

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3. Dublin Dance Festival | 18 - 28 May

Browse the full Programme.

4. PhotoIreland Festival | 1 - 31 May 

Browse the full Programme.

5. Catalan Chamber Orchestra: 20th Century Classics | 8 May | National Concert Hall

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